Self-care is incredibly important. Right now the US is going through a massive spike in anxiety, and the World Health Organization estimates 1 in 13 people worldwide has some sort of anxiety disorder. While not everyone is at the level that needs medical intervention (like I do), it’s clear that everyone does need to make sure they’re working on self-care practices in this increasingly anxious world. Self-care takes time and we live in a society that would rather glorify overwork than give you the time to do it, so finding time to relax can sometimes be a struggle in and of itself.
The good news for the sustainability lovers and eco-warriors out there is that sometimes treating yourself to better quality self-care also makes your life a little more eco-friendly at the same time. Here are 4 quick self-care upgrades that help heal the environment while healing your psyche.
Loose Leaf Plastic Free Tea!
Tea time is probably one of the oldest and most beloved self-care rituals. The warm cup is soothing, the taste is delicious, the tea itself is often very healthy for you, and the whole routine is calming. But did you that tea bags often contain plastic? When people think about plastic waste, straws and coffee cups are the hot button issues right now, but tea bags still a source of plastic waste. So if you’re thinking about getting high quality loose leaf tea to drink instead of the grocery store brand tea, you’ll be reducing the amount of unnecessary single-use plastic as well. And while brewing tea is an art in and of itself, if you still want the convenience of the teabag tea, loose leaf teas might now be as hard to brew as you may think they are. At tea ball/tea infuser is super easy to use and even a cheap metal one will get the job done (although it might cause a slight metal taste). And if you’re willing to get high quality tea leaves, the easiest and oldest tea brewing method is to just throw leaves into a cup and add hot water. Good quality tea leaves won't float to the top on you nor will they get bitter.
Reduce harmful chemicals with Zero-Waste Skincare
Skincare makes you look good, feel good, and it’s good for you. What's not to love? Well, formaldehyde, for one, which challenges that whole “good for you” part. Formaldehyde is a probable know cause of leukemia, and can be found in an alarming number of skin care products. And unfortunately you have to play detective to find the perfect skincare product without formaldehyde in it, as there are quite a few names manufactures use to avoid the bad reputation that formaldehyde has and there are no clear labeling laws around it. One easy way to ensure your skincare is leukemia free is to simple make your own skincare out of your groceries. Honey and lemon washes, avocado and egg masks, and basil water toner are just three of many extremely easy DIY skincare ideas. And of course, quick whipping up your own skincare eliminates another source of plastic waste in your life as well, helping to save mother earth as you make your skin-care carcinogen free.
Buy Better Quality
We live in a society that constantly tells us that buying that new shiny item is the key to happiness. We all know the negative effects this can have on people, so how do we deal with it? Next time you go to the store to buy something you need (emphasis on the need), try “spoiling” yourself with something a little higher quality than normal. This may seem like giving into shopping impulses instead of fighting them, but know that the world’s large industries are pulling every trick in the book to push a large amount of low quality items on you. Over time, companies like H&M make much more money selling $10 shirts that break down on you in a year instead of one $45 shirt that’ll last a you a decade. The “treat” you’re giving yourself with that slightly more expensive shirt saves you money in the long run and you get a better looking piece of clothing. And of course, buying quality instead of disposables reduces the amount of waste your throwing out, which is especially important considering how absolutely devastating fast fashion’s waste generation is. Transitioning your whole wardrobe from fast fashion to quality pieces you can take care of might take a little time, but it’s not difficult. And if you start thinking very carefully about your purchases and only buy what you’ll actually wear, you’ll discover much of your clothing purchases were kind of irrational. All compulsion shopping does is create anxiety producing clutter.
Replace Chemical Air-Fresheners with Natural Candles
Good clean scents are extremely necessary for maintaining a peaceful home environment and for reducing anxiety. Unfortunately though, many common air fresheners are filled with toxic chemicals, including our old leukemia-causing friend formaldehyde. You’d think that a product you breath in daily would be subject to similar regulations as food products are, but sadly that isn’t the case. So ditching the carcinogens and asthma causing sprays for some 100% beeswax, coconut, or soy candles with 100% cotton wicks is a great way to make your home a little healthier while giving you a great calming dose of aromatherapy (note: scented candles can have similar toxicity problems as the air freshener, defeating the whole point. Get the actually natural ones). And of course, buying less formaldehyde and 1,4-Dichlorobenzene laced fresheners will also reduce the amount those chemicals seeping into the environment overall, so the planet will be just as relieved as your lungs.
One last thing. While this might not be a zero-waste friendly tip out there, if after your bathroom break you need a more “acute” and “fast acting” air freshener, you still don't need to reach for a chemical spray. Simply lighting a match will get rid of the smell instantly.